Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Florida engineers say all large buildings should be inspected after Surfside

View of the land that once housed the Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida

View of the land where Champlain Tower South once stood in Surfside, Fla., on Aug. 10. Photo: Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Florida should require almost all large buildings to be inspected for structural issues, a coalition of the state's leading engineering associations recommended Thursday.

Driving the news: The recommendations come from a task force formed in the wake of the Surfside building collapse. The coalition, called the Surfside Working Group, gave their suggestions to state lawmakers.

Details: The recommendation is for all Florida buildings that "exceed 10 occupants and are greater than 2,000 square feet." If accepted, it would require structural recertification within the building's first 30 years, with follow-ups every 10 years after.

  • Buildings closer to "corrosive saltwater environments," should be inspected 20 years after the first occupancy, according to the report.

What they're saying: "Any time a structure fails, it's a serious issue," Scott Martin, Chair of the Surfside Working Group, said in a statement.

  • "We assembled this group of building professionals to review the current state of Florida's building codes ... and develop a consensus on changes that would make all existing buildings in Florida safer," he added.
  • "Preserving the long-term health of buildings is essential to helping ensure Florida doesn't experience another tragic building collapse," Allen Douglas, executive director of the Florida Engineering Society, told Axios.
  • "While the exact cause of the Surfside building collapse is unknown, the updated requirements would have at least led to the 40-year-old building being inspected ... three times prior to its 2018 examination."
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